Case Study: City of Launceston
Smart cities start with smart foundations. The City of Launceston implemented an integrated enterprise solution to digitally transform operations and realise its smart city ambitions
The City of Launceston is Tasmania’s largest local government area, serving a population of 67,000 residents and managing more than $1 billion worth of assets.
Previously, the City of Launceston was running an assortment of standalone applications to manage operations, which was highly inefficient.
“Inconsistent data, poor integration, silos of knowledge and general inefficiency were the main issues we were experiencing with trying to get multiple systems working together,” City of Launceston Information Technology Manager Andrew Gall said.
“We had mismatched data sets producing incorrect reports, stemming from sub-optimal integration, and reconciliation time was quite a challenge.”
Recognising that this was unsustainable, the Council sought TechnologyOne’s help to ‘standardise, simplify and sustain’ operations and digitally transform the organisation over time.
The Council also aspired to be at the forefront of Australia’s Smart City development.
The City of Launceston implemented TechnologyOne’s enterprise software over time - including Financials, Property & Rating, Enterprise Content Management, Human Resources & Payroll, Supply Chain Management, Enterprise Asset Management and Corporate Performance Management - as part of a wider digital strategy to improve organisational efficiency.
“TechnologyOne has removed a great deal of complexity surrounding our IT operations and infrastructure,” Mr Gall said.
“Taking a consolidated approach to our enterprise software has enabled us to operate much more effectively so we can focus on delivering improved services to the community.”
The Council's approach to innovation and digital transformation has since paid off, with the City receiving an Australian Smart City Federal Grant under the first round of the Federal Government’s Smart Cities and Suburbs Program.
We have definitely noticed a shift from being reactive and putting out fires, to being proactive and being on the front foot
To realise ’smart city’ ambitions, the underlying technology and architecture must be appropriate and enabling.
The City of Launceston realised this, appreciating that by simplifying its IT layer, it could be free to focus on business outcomes.
“If you’re inefficient now, that’s only going to become exponentially greater as you scramble to meet the challenges of your constituents and community expectations in the future,” Mr Gall said.
“Having integrated ERP software has automated a lot of processes and reports, removed a lot of risks, freed up resources and enabled us to deliver services more effectively.
“We have definitely noticed a shift from being reactive and putting out fires, to being proactive and being on the front foot.
“A good example is our Work Orders software which allows us to efficiently record, track and manage problems out in the field and then delegate them on to the relevant person to fix,” Mr Gall said.
“It’s good to know that having removed all the kinks and integration issues that stem from having an assortment of systems, we can now capture data more effectively, turn this into actionable insights and respond quicker than ever before. It’s proactive and things just get done.
“We’re really excited about the possibilities and we are continually refining our software to do better things. There’s still a huge amount of untapped potential in terms of maximising automation and gaining insights from the field.”
Mr Gall added: “We’ve recently purchased Business Analytics with the view of improving the way we visualise and present information captured out in the field, to bring it all together in a clear and easily understandable way.”
While the journey to ‘smart’ is different for everyone, there is a common denominator – smart cities start with smart foundations.
“Having the appropriate underlying digital architecture in place has been fundamental to our smart city ambitions,” Mr Gall said.
“Over time, we consolidated our business applications into one core enterprise solution which has made life a lot easier as there are some real efficiencies in terms of information capture, data quality and transactional flows."
In late 2017, the City of Launceston was awarded almost $1.6 million in federal funding from the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program (SCSP), as part of a planned $3 million project to deliver innovative Smart City projects.
The project is a collaboration between State, Federal and Local Government, along with the University of Tasmania and Telstra.
The GLTP will use the latest connective technology and new 3D virtual city modelling tools to transform city planning processes, deliver better educational outcomes and develop a community co-designed innovation hub.
It will also deliver multi-faceted benefits including improved service delivery through smart technology – testimony that ‘smart’ plans rely on an effective digital transformation strategy.
Additionally, the City is gaining full access to a local LoRa network, and as a primary test site for the new 5G technology, Launceston is poised to become a ‘fully connected, tech-ready centre that is open and ready for business’.
“The Smart City movement is all about sustainability and delivering services as effectively and efficiently as possible,” Mr Gall said.
“If you can minimise risk and have systems that are sustainable then you’re being smart and future proofing your council for further technological change.
About City of Launceston
The City of Launceston serves a population of 67,000 residents in the northern region of Tasmania.
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